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Elite 2024 Wing Liam McNeely Got His Skills Honest

Sports Illustrated logo Sports Illustrated 10/27/2021 Jason Jordan

McNeely is hearing from Memphis, Kansas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Iowa and others.

Liam McNeely is widely regarded as one of the top prospects in the 2024 class with great size (6’7”), elite playmaking ability and three-level scoring ability.

To say he got it honest would be severely understating it.

“It’s in my blood for sure,” McNeely said.

McNeely’s great grandfather, Gordon Elsey, played at Tulsa, his grandfather, Chuck Elsey, played at TCU, his mother, Ashley Elsey, played at Rice, one of his uncles, Chad Elsey, SMU and Baylor, and his other uncle, Josh Ihde, played at SMU.

“He started playing at the YMCA right before he turned 3,” Ashley Elsey said. “He was so happy playing and took so much joy from it really young in a way that other kids just didn’t. Then he ended up being good and wanted to play and practice all the time. What you hope for as a parent is for your kid to find something that they’re passionate about, and he was passionate about it right off the bat.”

Liam McNeely is an exceptional playmaker and an efficient scorer. USA Basketball © Provided by Sports Illustrated Liam McNeely is an exceptional playmaker and an efficient scorer. USA Basketball

This summer, McNeely started out in the E15 division with Drive Nation (Texas) at Nike Peach Jam and averaged 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists. That prompted a promotion to the E17 division in the second week of Peach Jam.

“The speed of the game was the biggest adjustment,” McNeely said. “I definitely feel like it helped me; just being able to get that experience and compete at that level.”

McNeely capped off his summer by helping USA Basketball’s U16 team capture the gold medal in Mexico.

“It was an amazing experience, and I learned a lot from the coaches,” McNeely said. “I got better, and we had great chemistry. It was really, really fun. I couldn’t stop smiling when they put the gold medal around my neck.”

Those accolades and that production have a virtual who’s who of college coaches lining up trying to lay the foundation for the sophomore star.

Since September 9, when coaches could begin attending open gyms at high schools per NCAA rules, McNeely has had Stanford, Memphis, Kansas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Iowa parked in the bleachers.

He's already taken unofficial visits to Texas and Oklahoma State and plans to visit Oklahoma this weekend.

“Everyone tells me this process is supposed to be fun, so I’m just trying to keep that in mind,” McNeely said. “I see myself as a versatile player so the best system for me is one where I can have the ball in my hands, playing multiple positions and making plays for myself and my teammates. Right now, I’m just having fun getting to know the coaches and later in my high school career I’ll have to narrow it down.”

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